Kumble makes us mentally strong – Mishra
Amit Mishra is one of three men over 30 in India’s squad for the ODIs against New Zealand. He is the leader of the spin attack, yet he has played only 33 matches, six more than the second spinner Axar Patel. He came into the series having not played any ODI cricket since October 2015, and may well go out once the resting R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja return.
But with six wickets in two games, including that of Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s century-maker in Delhi, Mishra has done his prospects no harm. He is on top of the bowling charts, and is in demand for bowling tips.
“Whenever youngsters come and ask me, I give them advice,” Mishra said. “It happens during the games too, and in meetings if I feel I can share something. I don’t add any unnecessary pressure, but whenever I have felt the need to offer small tips, I do. I am really enjoying this duty of supporting youngsters.”
Mishra is enjoying a dynamic where he shares his knowledge with the side and learns from coach Anil Kumble at the same time.
“Anil bhai is very helpful. When I didn’t play in a Test match, he would still tell me how to bowl, what pace I need to bowl for a wicket, what field I should bowl to and what are the strengths of the batsman. His experience has been helpful not just for me, but for everyone. Despite being a bowler himself, he shares batting tips to the tailenders which will be helpful in crucial matches, as to how to bat when you have a proper batsman around you.”
When asked if his patchy batting form could be a reason for him not finding a permanent place in the limited-overs side, Mishra smiled and suggested he had no clue. He did concede that he played a “bad shot” in the Delhi ODI which India lost by six runs. Needing 60 to win off 55 balls and only two wickets in hand, Mishra went for a slog sweep against part-time bowler Martin Guptill and was caught off a top-edge.
“It was the requirement of the match,” he said. “At that time, if I’d played positively against the spinner maybe it would have helped the team but if he hadn’t caught we could have finished the game maybe even with two overs to spare. Next time, I will look to take my time before trying to finish the game.”
Mishra, though, was pleased with the way a young bowling attack has been able to have plans at the ready to combat various situations. “Whenever we need to put pressure, we try and apply it or take wickets,” he said. “Maybe sometimes all the strategies don’t work, but our second line of defence has always been good and it works.
“As spinners we always talk about going for wickets irrespective of situation. Sometimes the situation is such that we have to take a step back, like during the last game. We have two plans all the time, sometimes we go back, reassess and go to Plan B. This time also we will always head into the game with two or three plans. So even if the second doesn’t work, the third will.”
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun
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